Robert Silverberg’s Reflections: December 2015



‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’

Isaac Asimov


Reflections is a regular column by multi-award-winning SFWA Grandmaster Robert Silverberg, in which he will offer his thoughts on science fiction, literature and the world at large.

This month: ‘Fimbulwinter 2015’

I’m writing this in March 2015, and probably this is not the best moment to be talking about the winter that is currently afflicting most of the eastern United States while I sit out here in pleasant sunny California, where things this year have been, well, different.

We do get a sort of winter in my part of California – the San Francisco Bay Area – but temperatures below freezing are rare occurrences, snow is essentially unknown except on the highest mountain peaks, and the plants in my garden flourish and bloom all the year round. This winter has been particularly gentle for us, the warmest in our region’s history, one warm, sunny day after another, while a dome of high-pressure air shields us from the rainy winter storms we so desperately need and sends them roaring on eastward, transmogrified by their journey through Canada into horrendous blizzards. “We are being devastated by a slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions,” says E.J. Graff, the author of a column called “Boston’s Winter from Hell” in the New York Times for February 21, 2015. “The disaster is eerily quiet. There are no floating bodies or vistas of destroyed homes. But there’s no denying that this is a catastrophe. In just three weeks, between Jan. 27 and Feb. 15, we have had four epic blizzards – seven feet of precipitation over three weeks – which crushed roofs, burst gutters, destroyed roads and sidewalks. . . .”

What the East Coast is going through, this winter, is a fair approximation of the Fimbulwinter of the old Norse myths, the Mighty Winter, the Great Winter, which is the dire forewarning of Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods and the imminent end of the world  . . .


You can read the rest of the column here, and find Robert Silverberg’s eBooks here – including Reflections and Refractions, a collection of his non-fiction columns. Please note: each column will remain on the site for one month only.